Helen Jones – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for International Development

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Helen Jones on 2016-05-04.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that women refugees in Syria and Iraq have access to adequate sanitary protection; and if she will make a statement.

Mr Desmond Swayne

The humanitarian crises in Syria and Iraq have placed many women and girls at risk of exploitation and insecurity. In both countries, DFID continues to work with the UN, NGOs and international community to ensure women’s rights are protected.

The UK has pledged over £2.3 billion in response to the Syria crisis since 2011. Of this, DFID has provided £5 million to UNFPA inside Syria. As part of this assistance UNFPA distribute hygiene or “dignity” kits to preserve and promote the hygiene and dignity of displaced women and adolescent girls as well as men, and to allow their social integration while away from home. These include sanitary napkins, underwear, and a range of practical personal hygiene items. With UK support, UNFPA alone distributed 50,900 dignity kits inside Syria in 2015. UNFPA and other partners are also improving access to reproductive health services inside Syria.

The UK has committed £79.5 million of humanitarian assistance to Iraq since summer 2014. This includes cash assistance for vulnerable displaced Iraqis, allowing them to prioritise what they need most. Through the UN- managed Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund, we fund a number of projects meeting the most urgent needs of displaced Iraqis including emergency healthcare, water and sanitation, and protection services for women and girls. Our partners consider gender related differences in needs in all DFID funded projects.